So it’s time to pack your life into one or two suitcases to study abroad. It seems like a daunting task, and it is, but by prioritising the things you will actually need and use overseas you can ensure you do not over-pack but still have the essentials.
Clothing for the Climate
It sounds obvious but it is important to research the climate of the country you are going to and pack your clothes accordingly. If you are going somewhere that tends to be sunny and warm year round such as Australia and New Zealand, most of the clothes you pack should be summer clothes but you should also take some jumpers and warm clothing for at night, but not a lot. You probably won’t need to take that hat and pair of gloves. The reverse applies to if you are studying some place colder, but many places such as Canada and North East America go from very hot in summer to extremely cold with snowfall in winter. If this applies to your destination, take some clothing for all seasons and both sunglasses and rain boots. It could be useful to stick to a colour scheme, i.e. pack clothing that is only red, black, grey and white, as this will mean you pack less and can mix and match your outfits easily.
Camera, Electronics and Converters
You will need to pack your laptop and phone but for these you will also need adapters suitable to the country you are going to so that you can charge them there. These are easy to find, and can even be purchased at the airport on your way to study abroad, but this will be more expensive than buying them in advance. It may be a good idea to get a charger from the country you are in for your laptop when you get there if the voltages are very different, as this could potentially cause issues. If you have a camera you should also bring it to capture your amazing study abroad memories. If you do not have a camera, I would recommend buying a Fuji Film instant ‘polaroid’ camera which is only around £65, so you will instantly have physical photos to bring home with you.
DVDS, Books and Pictures
When you are so far from home it is likely you will end up homesick at some point. When this happens, you will be thankful to have some of your favourite things from home to distract yourself with. If you will have access to a DVD player then bring your favourite movies or TV box sets, and pack some books you have read at home. You could also bring pictures you have taken with friends and family. There are apps that allow you to cheaply have photos from your phone or computer printed and sent to you. Make sure you also bring sticky tack to put them up in your room and make it feel more like home.
Home Country Snacks
If you have space, you could pack a few of your favourite snacks that you cannot get abroad. You will probably find yourself missing the, especially in a country with very different cuisine to your own. This could be a packet of your favourite biscuits, chocolates or spread. As long as it complies with airline guidelines and will not go off easily then you can take it. This could also be useful for when you first arrive at your university and do not know where anywhere is to get food; at least you know you have some with you.
Much like clothing this seems pretty self-explanatory, but make sure you take essential toiletries with you to start you off. This includes travel size shampoo and conditioner, a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, deodorant, a brush and a razor. Also pack one or two bathroom towels. It is best to do this to save money on buying these things when you first get there, as you know you will need them Your Documents, Money and Medication. Make sure you have your visa and any other required documents with you in your hand luggage, so you can present it when you enter the foreign country. Also have your home credit or debit card and some cash out to tide you over until you can set up a bank account abroad. If you currently take any medicine remember to take it and if you do not you may still want to take some painkillers and medicine for cold and flu as you will be used to these medications and know they will not adversely affect you.
What Not to Bring
If you take one thing away from this article, leave room in your suitcase or suitcases for items that you purchase abroad and will want to bring back home with you. You can acquire a lot in a short time in another country, whether this be souvenirs for yourself or friends and family or clothing with your new university’s logo on it, you will be grateful you left the extra space. Do not pack bedding such as a duvet or pillows as this takes up too much space and can be purchased over there. By all means take a duvet cover and pillow covers if you know they will fit your bed over there, but do not make it a priority. Do not pack too many room decorations either as these can be bought from cheap shops once you arrive. Do not take an excessive amount of clothing, especially formal outfits that you will rarely wear. Do not take too many pairs of shoes either, running shoes, a casual pair such as converse and for girls one or two pairs of heels should suffice. If you will have a kitchen and need cutlery, plates, cups and cooking utensils, you may be able to bring a few things but it is best to buy most of these when you get there also.
The gist of it is to focus on packing the essentials but make room for things that remind you of home. If something takes up a large amount of space or weight, think whether you really need it or if you can buy it cheap overseas. Remember that if you forget something it is probably not the end of the world. If worst comes to worst your parents may be able to send it over to you. Good luck and happy packing.
The HelloUni app allows you compare UK & US universities. Download today from the app store or Googleplay! On our social media we offer tips for studying abroad and studying at university in general, with articles, videos and livestreams every week.